By the fig and the olive
And [by] Mount Sinai
And [by] this secure city [Makkah],
We have certainly created man in the best of stature;
Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low
Except for those who believe and do righteous deeds, for they will have a reward uninterrupted.
Then what (or who) causes you (O disbelievers) to deny the Recompense (i.e. Day of Resurrection)?
Is not Allah the Best of judges?
Chapter 95 At-Tīn 95: Verses 1-8
The Explanation of At-Tin and what comes after it
Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that what is meant by At-Tin is the Masjid of Nuh that was built upon Mount Al-Judi. Mujahid said, “It is this fig that you have.”
(By Az-Zaytun.) Ka`b Al-Ahbar, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd and others have said, “It is the Masjid of Jerusalem (Bayt Al-Maqdis).” Mujahid and `Ikrimah said, “It is this olive which you press (to extract the oil).”
(By Tur Sinin.) Ka`b Al-Ahbar and several others have said, “It is the mountain upon which Allah spoke to Musa.”
(By this city of security.) meaning Makkah. This was said by Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Ibn Zayd and Ka`b Al-Ahbar. There is no difference of opinion about this. Some of the Imams have said that these are three different places, and that Allah sent a Messenger to each of them from the Leading Messengers, who delivered the Great Codes of Law. The first place is that of the fig and the olive, which was Jerusalem, where Allah sent `Isa bin Maryam. The second place is Mount Sinin, which is Mount Sinai where Allah spoke to Musa bin `Imran. The third place is Makkah, and it is the city of security where whoever enters is safe. It is also the city in which Muhammad was sent. They have said that these three places are mentioned at the end of the Tawrah. The verse says, “Allah has come from Mount Sinai – meaning the one upon which Allah spoke to Musa bin `Imran; and shined from Sa`ir – meaning the mountain of Jerusalem from which Allah sent `Isa; and appeared from the mountains of Faran – meaning the mountains of Makkah from which Allah sent `Isa; and appeared from the mountains of Faran – meaning the mountains of Makkah from which Allah sent Muhammad .” Thus, He mentioned them in order to inform about them based upon their order of existence in time. This is why He swore by a noble place, then by a nobler place, and then by a place that is the nobler than both of them.
Man becoming Lowly even though He was created in the Best Form
and the Result of that Allah says,
(Verily, We created man in the best form.) This is the subject being sworn about, and it is that Allah created man in the best image and form, standing upright with straight limbs that He beautified.
(Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low.) meaning, to the Hellfire. This was said by Mujahid, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Al-Hasan, Ibn Zayd and others. Then after this attractiveness and beauty, their destination will be to the Hell-fire if they disobey Allah and belie the Messengers. This is why Allah says,
(Save those who believe and do righteous deeds.) Some have said,
(Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low.) “This means decrepit old age.” This has been reported from Ibn `Abbas and `Ikrimah. `Ikrimah even said, “Whoever gathers the Qur’an (i.e., he memorizes it all), then he will not be returned to decrepit old age.” Ibn Jarir preferred this explanation. Even if this was the meaning, it would not be correct to exclude the believers from this, because some of them are also overcome by the senility of old age. Thus, the meaning here is what we have already mentioned (i.e., the first view), which is similar to Allah’s saying,
(By Al-`Asr. Verily man is in loss, except those who believe and perform righteous deeds.) (103:1-3) Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Then they shall have a reward without end.) meaning, that will not end, as we have mentioned previously. Then Allah says,
(Then what causes you to deny) meaning, `O Son of Adam!’
(after this the Recompense) meaning, `in the recompense that will take place in the Hereafter. For indeed you know the beginning, and you know that He Who is able to begin (the creation) is also able to repeat it which is easier. So what is it that makes you deny the final return in the Hereafter after you have known this’ Then Allah says,
(Is not the Allah the best of judges) meaning, `is He not the best of judges, Who does not oppress or do any injustice to anyone’ And from His justice is that He will establish the Judgement, and He will give retribution to the person who was wronged in this life against whoever wronged him.